For the last two days I’ve combined ingredients to create a spiritual recipe for healing based on the first half of 2 Chronicles 7: 14. “If my people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” (NIV)
Now it’s time to look at the second half of the verse. What does God do with my not-yet-baked mixture?
Step 1: HE HEARS.
“…then will I hear from heaven.” Up until this point, He had turned His back and muted our prayers, but now He turns up the volume. He listens. He is ready to answer.
I’ll go back to my bread dough analogy. The ingredients of humility, prayer, and persistence are well mixed. Our U-turn from sin (“Lord, change me.”) is the heat that activates the leavening process, and allows the dough to rise. As we sit in God’s warm oven we can sense our spirits lighten. We know we are right with Him. We know He hears us.
Consider the spiritual awakenings in American history. Each started with a small group of prayer warriors who humbled themselves before God and persisted in their prayers. Each small group grew in numbers, grew in fervency and a desire to please Him. God alone knew when all had been made ready. And what did He do next?
What does He do when He knows we are ready for His answer?
Step 2: HE FORGIVES
“and will forgive their sins.” God hears our honest prayers, our sorrow for sin, and our desire for rescue from a terrible situation. The Father’s heart breaks for us.
As parents, we understand how much we hurt for our children when they sob over their disobedience, so sorry to have disappointed Mom and Dad. You may not have children of your own, but you have seen a truly repentant child looking so pathetic, you want to hug them and tell them everything will be okay.
When God initiates Step 2 of this recipe, His forgiveness permeates every molecule of our being. His peace brings strength to our hearts and determination to our actions. As we continue to pray for Him to heal our land, we don’t bask in a sauna of God’s forgiveness. No, this is a hot fire. It’s not comfortable. We may get a little charred around the edges, but our joy in His forgiveness keeps us moving toward our heart’s desire.
As bread bakes in the oven and transforms from raw dough to that magnificent creation of a crusty outside and a soft, delicious inside, so does God’s furnace transform us into more than conquerors. We are strong in spiritual battle, yet filled with love for the people around us. Our prayers become bold. We hear His command, and we obey with confidence.
Step 3: HE HEALS
“…and will heal their land.” Once God declares the hour has come to say “yes” to our prayers, results are instantaneous.
Let’s return to the two stiff-necked and unyielding people from Monday’s post in part one of this healing recipe. Things looked grim, but they chose to humble themselves and listen to their supposed enemy. After discovering they both had the same need for God, they prayed together. A different, better relationship was born. Maybe they continued to meet and pray together. Maybe not. But they had changed one another for the good and returned home determined to share that goodness. At some point, each one said to the Lord, “Change me.” So God added to their joy. He forgave their once-proud attitudes. He challenged them to exercise newfound spiritual muscles, and He used their malleable hearts to heal their land.
You and I can be one of those two people in reality. We can humble ourselves before God. And others. We can pray for our land to be healed. We can seek His face with fervency and many tears. We can take a good look at ourselves and maneuver a giant U-turn of repentance once we see our sin. Only then can we expect Him to answer our pleas.
God waits for that change in our hearts, and when He sees our true sorrow, He gives Light to our souls. He grants us more peace and joy. He places us in a fiery oven so that the weak, flabby dough of our lives gains strength and form, able to provide spiritual nutrition to others. He knows exactly what to do with us so we can gain our hearts’ desire.
The time is perfect. God speaks healing, and it is done. This loaf of golden-crusted bread—His Church—is baked to perfection. Expect a new spiritual awakening as the Church feeds her neighbors. The Bread of Life heals our land.